ENGAGEMENT & REMEDY GUIDELINES
The Japan Responsible Supply Chains Committee (JRSC), which is comprised of multi-stakeholder members, and which is led by Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network Japan (BHR Lawyers) and Global Compact Network Japan (GCNJ), has formulated and announced "Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines for Promotion of Responsible Business Conduct and Responsible Supply Chains.
The "Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines provide practical guide and basic actions for Japanese business to establish effective operational level grievance mechanisms in accordance with international norms, such as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, OECD MNE Guidelines, and ILO MNE Declaration. The Guidelines aim to promote constructive dialogues between business and society, strengthen grievance mechanisms, and ensure access to remedies around Japan.
The "Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines also intend to contribute to the development of the legacy of Tokyo 2020, the enrichment of the content of Japan's National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, and the effective dissemination of the ESG initiatives by Japanese companies.
We expect many business enterprises and other stakeholders to use and implement the Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines.
Global Compact Network Japan (GCNJ)
Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network Japan (BHR Lawyers)
＜Supporting and Advising Organizations＞
Civil Society Platform for Japan’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (BHR-NAP-CSPF）
OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct
ILO Office for Japan
Tokyo 2020 Support Program （Sustainability）for the action of publishing the Guidelines upon the public consultation.
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The "Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines are comprised of the following four documents.
(1) E&R Guidelines
(2) Grievance Centers Guidelines
(3) Basic Action for E&R Guidelines
(0) Introductory Document of E&R Guidelines:
Explain the backgrounds, the purposes, the structure, the utilization methods, the formulation process, etc. of the Guidelines.
(1) E&R Guidelines Text
Chapter 1 presents the fundamental principles of grievance mechanisms.
Chapter 2 provides practical guidance on the development of grievance mechanisms in individual companies by explaining the governance of the mechanism, the scope of the mechanism, access to the mechanism, grievance mechanism procedures, ensuring transparency of the mechanism, and auditing, improvement, and learning of the mechanism.
Chapter 3 provides practical guidance on handling complaints in the supply chains and proposes a model clause for grievance mechanism provisions in supply chain contracts to facilitate implementation of grievance mechanisms.
(2) Grievance Center Guidelines:
Provide practical guidance on the development of collective grievance mechanisms ("Grievance Center"). Although grievance mechanisms are normally handled by individual companies, it is beneficial to establish and operate a collective grievance mechanism in which multiple companies participate, depending on the size and circumstances of the company, and the legitimacy of such system can be enhanced when such collective grievance mechanism is run by an organization independent of each company.
(3) Basic Action for E&R Guidelines:
Sets out ten basic actions to strengthen grievance mechanisms.
How to Use
Strengthening grievance mechanisms of Japanese companies will enhance their corporate sustainability and will lead to the maintenance and creation of their long-term corporate values. Therefore, Japanese companies can use the "Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines as benchmark in assessing the effectiveness of their grievance mechanisms and their due diligence process.
Stakeholders such as workers, investors, business partners, and civil society, can also refer to the Guidelines in evaluating externally companies’ grievance mechanisms and due diligence process when engaging in dialogues with companies.
Particularly, the "Basic Action for E&R Guidelines" categorizes the fundamental steps which companies can take for strengthening grievance mechanisms into the objectively evaluable 10 items. We recommend companies to use them as disclosure items of the non-financial reporting. We also recommend investors and other stakeholders to use them as evaluation items in engaging in dialogues with companies.
The Guidelines have been formulated by the Japan Responsible Supply Chains Committee (JRSC), which is comprised of multi-stakeholder members including individuals engaged in business, investment, civil society, law, international organizations, and public organizations.
The Japan Responsible Supply Chains Committee (JRSC) has published the first edition of the Guidelines upon carrying out public consultation with multi-stakeholders inside and outside Japan and reflecting their opinions as far as possible.
We aim to continuously improve the Guidelines by setting up a platform to learn lessons and challenges through implementing grievance mechanism under the Guidelines, in collaboration with relevant institutions and through dialogue with stakeholders hereafter.
Japan Responsible Supply Chains Committee Overview
E&R Guidelines Project Overview
We have received from key persons in various sectors the messages which welcome the launch of "Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines and expect the dissemination of the Guidelines.
Ms. Cristina Tébar Less Head, OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct
The OECD Guidelines for MNEs and related tools and instruments on Responsible Business Conduct, reflect internationally agreed expectations for business to address their adverse impacts on people and the planet across their supply chains. Meaningful stakeholder engagement, enabling and supporting access to remedy, and legitimate remediation mechanisms, including corporate level grievance mechanisms, are critical components of supply chain due diligence and recognised in the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. The OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct commends the efforts of the Global Compact Network Japan and the Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network in developing the "Engagement" and "Remedy" Guidelines for the Promotion of Responsible Business Conduct and Supply Chains, and looks forward to continued collaboration.
Ms. Akiko Taguchi Director, ILO Office for Japan
We are delighted to be invited to participate in the formulation of the Guidelines. As Japanese enterprises have had an increased impact on people working around the world through their supply chains, we become aware that the appropriate and courageous business actions contribute to the economic and social development of other host countries. In order to realise responsible business conducts, engagement and collaboration with stakeholders as complements to due diligence efforts will play a crucial role (Section 10(e) of the ILO MNE Declaration). This will contribute to an increased productivity in the workplace, prevent labour disputes, and promote of sustainable economic growth and decent work as set forth in SDGs Target 8. The Engagement and Remedy Guidelines cites the ILO MNE Declaration, which is a guidance document for enterprises with regard to the ILO International Labour Standards. We hope that the Guidelines will be referenced and implemented by many enterprises and stakeholders.
Attorney Akira Kawamura President of Japan Association of Arbitrator; Former President of International Bar Association; and Of Counsel of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
In recent years, as the corporate environment has become globalized and the supply chain has grown beyond national borders, the areas of risk management and compliance that companies must pay attention to have dramatically expanded, and the contents are expected to deepen beyond mere compliance with laws and regulations. These trends have been shown by the fact that the ethical legitimacy of products produced under severe working conditions in developing countries has been questioned and that the Sarbanes–Oxley Act has called for the compliance with corporate ethics for the stakeholders of society. The Engagement and Remedy Guidelines present a method for companies to effectively address the global environment of uncertainty. I hope that the Guidelines will be further refined and deepened to support the globalization of companies.
Ms. Carine Smith Ihenacho Chief Corporate Governance Officer, Norges Bank Investment Management
Japan Responsible Supply Chains Committee has drafted comprehensive Engagement and Remedy Guidelines for Promoting Responsible Business Conduct and Supply Chains. We believe that the document’s principle based approach provides valuable and comprehensive guidance to companies.
Ms. Miyuki Zeniya Head of Sustainable Finance, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited
In a recent society that strongly seeks for a sustainable society, the Engagement and Remedy Guidelines provides guide for dialogue, handling complaints, and resolving issues with the society, which are essential for companies to think about their Businesses and Human Rights issues. It is a guidebook that is easy to understand for many Japanese business people who are working to solve SDGs challenges, and for those who have started to get interested in this subject. Overseas investors have already become aware that corporate actions based on a human rights perspective, such as gender diversity and supply chains, are indispensable. As an institutional investor in Japan that promotes ESG investment, I hope that many people will use this Guidelines as a reference.
Mr. Minoru Matsubara General Manager, Responsible Investment Division, Resona Asset Management
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your participation in the Guidelines as an investor. Climate change and supply chain risk (human rights) are major issues in financial markets, particularly for investors. Investors around the world are particularly aware of human rights issues, and we plan to provide support from 2020 for resolving various issues in the supply chain in line with these Guidelines. I would like to request all companies to raise their interest in these initiatives, and to encourage more companies to refer to the Guidelines.
Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network Japan Secretariat
(Attorney Sakon Kuramoto / Attorney Daisuke Takahashi)
C/O Research Center for Sustainable Peace (RCSP), the University of Tokyo
3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8902, JAPAN
Global Compact Network Japan Secretariat
United Nations University HQ Bldg. 3F,
5-53-70, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku,Tokyo 150-0001 JAPAN